Multiple Construction Projects Underway In The City
By Dave Walters
We said good-bye and, in many cases, good riddance to 2020, but we may have plenty to look forward to in 2021, according to Zephyrhills City Manager Billy Poe.
Now in his second full year at the helm, Poe is optimistic that the new year will bring new improvements to Zephyrhills starting with the completion of the traffic light project on US 301 at Pretty Pond Road.
Work started two months ago on the project that will ultimately eliminate the traffic light on US 301 at Merchants Square Shopping Center and Towne View Shopping Center. Turning lanes are being created now alter traffic patterns.
Work is commencing at Pretty Pond Road to add a turning lane at the north west side of the street. The new light will be installed with completion expected within the next five months.
Once the traffic light is in place, that opens the door for construction for the long-awaited Chik-fil-A at the northwest corner of US 301 and Pretty Pond.
“They said they would start construction when we finish the intersection, so we could be eating Chik-fil-A sandwiches by the end of the year,” said Poe. “That is my hope.”
Large decorative flowerpots are dotting the median on Fifth Avenue thanks to a new Zephyrhills Community Redevelopment Agency project.
“I think it was more for beautification than it was ease of maintenance,” Poe explained. “It’s a good little project that is easily notice downtown.”
Residential growth will be the most noticeable addition to the city in 2021 with the continuation of housing construction at Abbott Park and Abbott Square on the west end of Kossik Road at the former Gore’s Dairy property. Residential construction will continue near Simons Road in the area of the Sarah VandeBerg Tennis and Wellness Center.
Poe also noted that a stone’s throw from the Abbott Park and Abbott Square developments will also be the recently re-zoned Zephyr Commons apartments to be built just southwest of the Zephyr Commons Shopping Center.
A runway extension project at the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport, funded through a state allocation, will be completed in 2021. The multi-million-dollar project is currently out to bid by the city and construction could start as early as March.
Poe said the runway extension project will impact the operations at Skydive City and the city will work with them throughout the construction.
This year will see additional safety features as the city has several sidewalk projects on the calendar.
To look to the future, members of city council will put together its legislative appropriations wish list next week which could include a Seventh Street “Complete Streets” beautification project, and additional runway extension funds.
Poe’s wish list does not involve heavy equipment or construction.
“The one thing the I hope the city sees is more festivals coming back and downtown events,” Poe said. “That is the big thing we’re hoping to have.”